Baby Wearing – A solution to your problems?

Baby Wearing – A solution to your problems?

I had written a post sometime ago on how I wore N in a ring sling when he was a little younger. Some of you had written to me asking where I got the ring sling. Unfortunately I could not guide you to a source as I had got mine from a relative who agreed to carry it for me from abroad.

While you do get ring slings, the baby Bjorn and other baby carriers in Mumbai, they all come with a price tag (Rs.7000 for the baby Bjorn!) Finally I found an indigenously developed wrap called the Anmol Wrap. I am going to review this wrap for you, but first, the why!

Why wear your baby?

Baby wearing is common practice in rural India, in hunter-gatherer societies, in primitive cultures and now is gaining popularity in the West. For the longest time in the recent years, babies were transported in large strollers where they were isolated and not up near the mom. A lot of calmer babies enjoy this but some (like mine) just don’t take to strollers, swings, bouncers, or other contraptions designed to keep them away from mom’s warm arms.

In urban India (specially in these parts) mothers are lucky to have help with their babies. They have nannies, grand parents, house help, and others to lend a helping hand here and there. Many moms are rarely alone. Baby carriers make an appearance when the mom goes for a walk or a stroll with the baby.
However in spite of having help, wearing a baby as much as possible as a newborn and for a long time is very important for the mother and the baby.

A lot of new moms, who are friends of mine, ask me for advice. Many of them can’t understand why their new baby won’t settle in their cots for a nap, or cry so much if put down, or want to be held all the time.

In the evolutionary context it just does not make any sense for a baby to be left alone or away from its mother.

Any baby left alone is completely helpless across species.  Babies are hardwired to cry when left alone because they instinctually know that the safest place for them to be is close to the caregiver. Ages ago when we were hunter-gatherers the cry of a baby would attract a predator. This is why babies cry when alone, they sense danger and feel vulnerable.

Baby wearing crosses cultures and has been around since the dawn of humanity. A human baby is physically and neurologically least developed at birth compared to other primates. Our closest species the chimpanzee’s babies can hold onto the mother while she looks for food and moves about. In contrast a human baby is unable to grasp with any strength needed to hold onto their mother. Carrying her baby in a sling or wrap makes the most practical sense for the mother. All primates keep their baby close to them across species.

Today though the scenario has changed and babies are no longer in danger of predators when left on a cot or inanimate surface, their instincts tell them other wise. Their need for the mother / caregiver is as intense as the need for food. They are programmed to need their mother or be held by their mother.

In todays context here are the benefits of baby wearing.

• Reduces crying significantly

• Promotes secure attachment

• Babies Sleep Better

• Advances social development in baby as the baby sees mothers interactions.

• Establishes independence earlier due to sense of security

• Adheres to our biological nature

• Babies Are Generally Healthier

• Increases learning for babies by watching everything from the perspective of the caregiver

• Decreases the risk of flat head

• Makes sibling care easier

• Encourages weight bearing exercise

• Increases Productivity for mothers, keeping baby close

• Makes discreet nursing possible

• It can be a great tool to help a new mom combat the baby blues

• It is easier than taking a stroller up the stairs or onto a bus

• Increases hormone levels in mom and is better for milk supply.

I totally enjoyed wearing N for the short time that I did and I know I want to wear baby #2 a lot! The bond shared between a mother and child through baby wearing is one I wish each of us can experience at least once if not multiple times.

In my next post I will review the Anmol wrap a baby wearing wrap that’s been locally made.

Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts.